With news mostly going quiet on the Raheem Sterling front, many had begun to wonder if a deal had already been struck between Liverpool and Manchester City and only Liverpool’s desire to get their shopping done before the money came in was holding things up.
Another reading, though, was City that needed to sort a few deals of their own to free up room to make the deal—or to be certain they had room both to make the Sterling deal and to bring in any other new players they need. UEFA deciding to loosen Financial Fair Play restrictions on the club, though, could make that a moot point.
Previously, City’s net spending for this summer had been capped at £49M as part of a compromise deal reached with UEFA to avoid harsher punishment. That would have meant to pay £50M for Sterling they would have had to been able to make back at least £1M off the sale of other players to balance the books.
That, one imagines, wouldn’t be a problem. What could have been a problem would have been the fact that at that point, any other deals City might have wanted to do would have to come out of profits off sales, leaving them very little room to maneuver. Now, though, the £49M cap is no longer in play.
The Independent, usually a fairly reliable outlet, believe the result could be that City’s net spend breaks the £100M mark this summer as a result, and that that will clear the path for the £50M Sterling bid Liverpool are waiting for. It could also, they say, clear the path for a similar bid for Juventus’ Paul Pogba.
Taken together, City’s league rivals should be very worried. Taken together, it suggests that not only are City going straight back to spending however much they want on whoever they want, but that this time around they’re targeting younger players; players who could be mainstays at the club for a decade.
It’s also one more sign that, at the end of the day, FFP may turn out to have been nothing more than a great deal of talk and hand-waving from UEFA and that it won’t have the slightest impact on the worst offenders.